…they’ve managed to avoid The Long Range Acoustic Device. Or Drones with surveillance cameras. And how about that 11-mile electric fence? These aren’t precautions for the Republican National Convention or preparations for the Cockney Rejects at Chaos In Tejas, but rather, the above schemes are being employed for this Summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London. Said competitions, writes The Nation’s Dave Zirin, “aren’t about sport any more than the Iraq War was about democracy…they are a neoliberal Trojan Horse aimed at bringing in business and rolling back the most basic civil liberties.”
These “security issues” have been broadly defined to include everything from “terrorism” to peaceful protesters, to labor unions, to people selling bootleg Olympic products on the streets, to taking down any corporate presence that doesn’t have the Olympic seal of approval. To help them with the last part, there will be “brand protection teams” set loose around the city. These “teams” will also operate inside Olympic venues to make sure no one “wears clothes or accessories with commercial messages other than the manufacturers” who are official sponsors.
The security operation also means the kind of street harassment of working class youth that will sound familiar here in the United States. As the Guardian reported, “Officers have powers to move on anyone considered to be engaged in antisocial behaviour, whether they are hanging around the train station, begging, soliciting, loitering in hoodies or deemed in any way to be causing a nuisance.”
Not to shock anyone, but there are no signs that any of the security apparatus will be dismantled once the Olympics are over. Local police forces have just been given an inordinate number of new toys and the boxes have been opened, the receipts tossed away.
London will be left with a high-tech police force, terrible debt, higher taxes, with a camera around every corner. The only people who will leave this party enriched will be the private security industry, who will tout “the peace” as their personal accomplishment, encouraging more of the global 1 percent to get more guards, more walls and more separation from the great unwashed.